I’m not quite sure what to say about this as it wasn’t what I’d expected at all. I’d expected something more polished, less homely. It was a bit of a curate’s egg with nice set pieces like a change of direction walk that allowed people to peel off from the stage into the wings, a poem about a missed mother and a slide show of photographs at the end.
Apart from that however I found it to be like sitting in someone’s front room. Why did they introduce one another over and over? Really I get that if you are the aunt then that must be your niece. Why tell us that someone is a medical mystery and then not tell us why at any point in the play – especially when they need to sit out at the dancing.Why do they use real tables rather than prop ones? Why do they do baking and then offer it round the audience? Why aren’t the anecdotes more interesting? My family stories are interesting to my family but I wouldn’t turn that into a play and expect others to find it as interesting as I did. There was a cackling audience member who chortled all the way through – she must have been related, or insane.
There is a commonality to women’s lives in Scotland. I remember how hard my gran had it and clootie dumpling etc and perhaps they hoped to connect with the audience by mentioning these things but for me personally it didn’t really work. I’ve seen amateur performances which have been slicker and professional productions that have been around the same price in Fringe events. For me, it had the feel of a work in progress – a not-quite-there-yet production.
For future productions I’d suggest having all three tables already on stage for the first section instead of having to humph them on and off stage and then continue with the piece. I’d suggest more exposition about the common threads running through their lives and ours – kind of “We’re all here because of this woman” – image of common ancestor flashes on screen… and making the segues smarter and a bit more obvious. I get that the three disparate tables might have represented three separate families united at a family event but it wasn’t stated so I don’t know if I’m reading too much into it. It may just have been chaotic or it may have been attempting to be quite clever. Who knows? Answers on a postcard to….